Dear Wine Lover,
There is a bit of a back story for us here so read on. I met Davide Carlone on my first visit to Boca in January of 2015. I was immediately taken by his Boca and Croatina. What ran through my mind as I tasted his wines was captured by Antonio Galloni in his recent article Nebbiolo's Northern Lights: Alto Piemonte and Valtellina when he wrote, "Make a note of Davide Carlone. These wines will become super hot as soon as consumers start to discover them." I placed an order with Davide for his 2010 Boca and 2011 Croatina on the spot after having spent the better part of three hours drinking and talking with Davide and his great friend Davide Colombo (without whom, where we have finally ended up wouldn't have been possible). I couldn't have been more excited. Roll forward a couple of weeks after my return to the U.S. and for reasons related to other relationships Carlone has in the U.S., Carlone told me he didn't think now was a good time to collaborate. Deflated hardly began to describe how I felt.
A year later I was back in the Alto Piemonte prospecting for new relationships. While in Boca I happened upon Cantine Guidetti and met Marcello Guidetti. We got to talking about where good things were happening in Boca and I recounted my earlier experience with Davide Carlone and how disappointed I was not to have gotten his wines. What happened next started to feel like a Twilight Zone episode. Marcello told me that he sells Davide Carlone's Boca and Croatina in Italy under his Guidetti label. When asked why, he explained that Davide had a relationship in Italy with another distributor and this was a way for Davide to broaden exposure to his wine. I kept pressing to make sure that what was in the bottle was exactly the same wine. Every time the response was the same. Yet, still being skeptical, I decided the best way to see if this true was to contact Davide Carlone and see if I could get together with Davide and Marcello and taste the wines side-by-side. Without hesitating, a rendezvous was set at Carlone's for later that afternoon after Davide finished work.
I tasted the 2011 Carlone labeled Boca alongside the 2011 Guidetti labeled Boca and the same thing for the 2014 Croatina's. The wines were undeniably the same. Marcello and Davide explained that when Marcello fills an order he comes to Davide's to pick up unlabeled Carlone bottles and puts his labels on them. Because Davide had not resolved his relationship issues that prevented us from working directly, he suggested the best way to proceed at this point was for me to obtain his wine from Marcello. I explained that if I went down that path, I would need to tell our customers in no uncertain terms that notwithstanding the Guidetti label, these were Davide Carlone's wines and I would be very upfront about where they came from. He smiled and said he understood. Here are some photos of Davide and Marcello pouring the wines and bottle shots of the wines side-by-side at Carlone's.
So long story, longer, we arranged with Marcello to bring in the 2011 Boca to get things started. I'm sharing all of this with you because if you've had the great fortune to have tasted Carlone's wines in the past, the label on this wine won't look at all like the one you've seen previously or the one you see here. Instead it will be this label:
But I really don't care about the label and neither should you. It's what's inside that really matters and this 2011 Boca is from a special year in the Alto Piemonte. As required by the DOC, this is a blend of 85% Nebbiolo and 15% Vespolina. The wine is aged 2.5 years in botte grande. Awesome minerality, perfect ripeness and red fruits are flanked by juniper and balsamic notes. Impeccably balanced and well made. So impressive. This wine works on the table with all of the same things you'd think about pairing alongside your other Nebbiolo wines.
In the words of David Schildknecht from Vinous, “Austria’s 2013 Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners display exceptionally bright acidity, clear flavor definition and uncanny complexity.” 2013 has given us the stunning combination of healthy, ripe grapes that remain light on their feet as the alcohol levels stayed in check, married with focused, tense acidity.
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